Tenants of Brantford apartment building say unit infested with bugs, landlord not doing enough
BRANTFORD -- Tenants of an apartment building in Brantford are speaking about an infestation of bed bugs and cockroaches, and claim the landlord isn’t doing enough to keep them out.
Shawn Willard says the bugs are everywhere in his unit: by the door, under the fridge, near the bed.
“For the past six months my house has becoming nothing but infested,” he said. “I’m completely grossed out. My daughter is grossed out. I don’t sleep at night because I wake up with bugs crawling on me.
“Right away upon discovering [bug bites over body], I chucked the bed, got rid of it, and disinfected my house.”
Other tenants of the building say they’re dealing with the same problem.
“They’re all over. They’re everywhere,” said tenant Rachelle Latford. “They’re in my bed. First I only had bedbugs in there, but no, now I have cockroaches in there. It’s really embarrassing.”
Willard says he reached out to the property owner Megna Property Management about the bugs. He sent videos and emails and asked to get the building sprayed.
“I communicated by email expecting a return email back,” he said. “Not one in 90 days now.”
Willard adds that the property owner eventually brought in Apex Pest Control to clean his unit, but is still finding cockroaches in his apartment.
“They’re made it very clear to me that Paul Megna wasn’t paying for the cockroaches, only the bedbugs,” he said.
In a statement, Megna Property Management says Apex had sprayed for bedbugs, since that was what the tenant had stated he had, not cockroaches.
“Every single unit has and is treated as it is brought to management’s attention,” the statement reads. “We cannot treat units where tenants do not inform us or do not want us in their unit.”
Latford says that the entire building needs to be cleaned, not just individual units.
“When he does come out, he needs to exterminate all 52 units,” she said. “Not just my unit, not just his unit, not just theirs, but everybody’s. All 52.”
Willard adds that he wants to see the building routinely cleaned.
PROVINCIAL RIGHTS FOR TENANTS WITH BED BUGS
The province of Ontario's guidelines for tenants dealing with bed bugs suggests speaking with a landlord directly.
The tenant is responsible for cooperating with the landlord, according to the province. The landlord needs to make sure the unit is, "fit for habitation and complies with health standards."
Landlords are allowed to enter a suite as long as they've given 24 hours of notice. They should also use a licensed company to handle the infestation, according to the province.
A landlord can also inspect other units if they feel the problem may have spread.
The provincial guidelines say tenants need to make sure their units are ready for an exterminator by cleaning the space, laundering clothing and bedding and pulling furniture away from the walls.
If a tenant gets in the way of a landlord's efforts to exterminate bed bugs, the province says they could be evicted.
Landlords are responsible for all extermination costs, the province says.
Tenants in the province should contact the Landlord and Tenant Board if they feel the landlords aren't helping them handle a bed bug situation.
The County of Brant says tenants can also contact the Brantford Building Department Property Standards bylaw enforcement office or the County of Brant Property Standard office.